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An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution Paperback – August 24, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0198288350 ISBN-10: 0198288352 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

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"A work of encyclopedic learning and matching ambition....an unusual combination of boldness and subtlety....His passing remarks on how many recalcitrant facts a theory can decently leave unexplained would provoke a class in the philosophy of science. His discussion of recent ideas about the duties one generation owes to the next would provoke another. I suspect that there are more economists who can appreciate Dasgupta's moral philosophy than philosophers who can appreciate his economics, but both will surely benefit from reading his arguments. In spite of the grimness of much of his subject matter, the book yields the pleasure that only a very clever thinker can give his readers."--New York Review of Books


"There is much in the book that readers from different disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, and political science, will find informative, insightful, and instructive....Dasgupta's excursion into moral philosophy is illuminating and informative."--Journal of Economic Literature


"The book is of considerable value for anyone involved in research on economics and public policy, theoretical or empirical. The more theoretical sections are applicable to a much wider range of issues, and the presentations in general are sufficiently compartmentalized that the work can be treated almost as a kind of encyclopedia of philosophical, statistical, economic and policy issues....The book is perhaps even more important, however, from the perspective of political theory and political science, for what it offers by way of philosophical foundations for making the elimination of destitution a priority, and how such a concern translates into policy recommendations for reducing the incidence of destitution in the world."--American Political Science Review


"An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution is in many ways as impressive as Hume, Smith and Marx themselves."--London Review of Books


"What makes this book of special interest to physicians with broad social concerns is the meticulous and penetrating examination of the economic consequences and costs of malnutrition and ill health and of the obligations of society, and government, in the face of such costs....A serious and important book."--New England Journal of Medicine


About the Author


Partha Dasgupta is Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. John's College. He was also Professor of Economics, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Program in Ethics in Society at Stanford University from 1989-1992. He is Research Advisor to the United Nations University's World Institute for Development Economics Research, Chairman of the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for Policy Reform.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 24, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198288352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198288350
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.4 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,814,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book may not be as well-known and widely studied in graduate programs as, say, Deaton's "The analysis of household surveys" or Bardhan and Udry's "Development microeconomics", but it's an excellent book nonetheless. Professor Dasgupta writes uncommonly well, and despite the sometimes technical nature of the material, large sections of this book flow so naturally that the book often feels more like a collection of essays rather than a textbook.

The only drawback of this book is that at the time of writing (2010) it is already about 15 years old. Micro-development economics has seen remarkable progress since then. Also, the topics covered are somewhat selected and there is much focus on material which is now not as "popular" as it used to be. But every author needs to make choices, after all, so this is not really a drawback after all. Rather, it's something you need to keep in mind if you want to build a library spanning most central topics in micro-development economics nowadays. If that is what you want to do, then I would add to this book Deaton and Bardhan & Udry (see above) and Volumes I, III and IV of the Handbooks of Development Economics (Elsevier). Keep in mind that the Handbook volumes are very expensive and if you google hard enough on the web you can find several chapters online for free.

Going back to the book, now, I fully agree with another reviewer about 1. the impressive bibliography (which takes pages 546-625!!) and 2. the fact that the section on nutrition/malnutrition is wonderful. I would also add that the sections on gender (especially those that focus on India) and those that cover the literature on intra-household allocation of resources are excellent as well.
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